Initiative to amend the Criminal Code

Today, civil society organizations which deal with the work of the media sent joint Initiative to the Government, Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights, the Parliament and parliamentary clubs for urgent amendments to the Criminal Code of Montenegro, in order to provide better protection of journalists.

In the first half of this year, as many as 10 cases of verbal and physical attacks, threats, insults and humiliation of journalists and media workers were recorded, and in most of these cases this happened while they were on their regular work assignments. Having in mind frequent attacks on journalists in Montenegro and social-political tensions, we consider that measures should be taken to achieve reinforced criminal-legal protection of journalists and media workers. Attacks and obstructions of media in reporting should be prevented and a social environment in which freedom of expression is guaranteed should be provided.

We consider that introduction of new criminal offenses in the Criminal Code – Obstructing journalists in performing their professional duties and Assaulting journalists in performing their professional duties, or amendments to the existing criminal offences Aggravated Murder and Serious Bodily Injury, could contribute to deterring potential perpetrators of such attacks in the future. Such protection would be in accordance with the international and European standards.

We note that non-governmental organization Human Rights Action has been advocating for the mentioned changes for years. Considering that these were not accepted and having in mind deteriorating working conditions of the media, other organizations dealing with the work of the media and the protection of journalists are also joining the action. By that we want to point out that there is a broad consensus within the professional community on the urgent need to amend the Criminal Code, in order to intensify punishments for attacks on journalists.

Human Rights Action
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Montenegro Media Institute
Civic Alliance
Association of Journalists of Montenegro
Association of Professional Journalists of Montenegro
Centre for Civic Education
Media centre